May 2019
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

what makes social interactions easier or harder for me in one-on-one and group settings

icon: "imperious (photo of me w imperious expression wearing "Red Queen" makeup: searingly red lips, darkened pointed eyebrows, black eyeliner, deep red & black eyeshadow accented with gold & silver, and black-outlined silver hearts & diamonds with red shadows on my cheeks)"

prompt from secret_keep: what can make a social interaction easier for you? Harder for you? (ideally, answer for both 1 on 1 and group interaction.)

One on one:
What makes this easier for me is if the person has areas in common with me in values and passions so that we have enough to talk about, and if they are good at asking interesting questions and/or taking at least 45% of the responsibility for coming up with topics and branches. What makes it harder is when we have clashing values that make me not even want to be near the person, or when they have few things they are passionate about, or when they have little experience with the passions we have in common, or if they do not try to give back in equal portion. I like conversations to go like this:

A: *asks interesting question*
B: *answers thoroughly, sharing whatever is relevant beyond the scope of the direct question. Asks related interesting question*
A: *answers thoroughly, sharing whatever is relevant beyond the scope of the direct question. Makes broad statement.*
B: *asks a specific question that helps define broad statement*

These patterns repeated and blended up make for a relaxing, nourishing conversation. Asking thoughtfully (and not too many questions that I have answered a million times like "where did you grow up"), sharing openly (which means including more than requested, answering the spirit of the question), and taking initiative are all qualities I need to not feel like it is mostly a drain. I am an outgoing person, but I have social anxiety, so while I might enjoy initiating/guiding conversation somewhat, that all takes work and I can't relax if the other person is just not going to talk when I don't guide the conversation. Sitting in silence with someone is not fun for me unless we're very very intimate.

In large groups:
What makes this easier for me is if I know everyone or if I have an outgoing ambassador friend who will introduce me to people or be the one to butt in to conversations and then include me. It's also easier if there is a meaningful shared activity like crafting or a discussion topic or playing get-to-know-you games. And it is easier if I go WITH someone, so that the transition from in my house to out is not in question. I don't do transitions in/out of my house well, so it takes a lot of spoons just to do that part. If someone picks me up, that makes social interaction SO MUCH EASIER, like a WORLD easier, but people don't do that. It eases the transition on both ends, and it removes any sense of deadline stress since it's not my responsibility any more. It also makes me feel free to drink (if I am driving myself I won't drink even a little unless I'm spending the night); drinking makes it easier to interact with people because I stop judging my words in five different ways before letting them out of my mouth. I also find it easier when I am wearing an outfit that feels comfortable and 'me' and wearing expressive makeup, because I feel like that helps to attract the right sort and scare off the others.

What makes it harder is when I don't know anyone, don't have an ambassador, don't have a meaningful activity or focus, have to drive myself alone, am stressed about money, am stressed about my car breaking, or have a deadline (that sets off mild panic as an ADD coping mechanism). Having to drive someone else makes it both easier and harder. It's more stressful, but it stresses me to GO rather than to stay. It's also much harder if it is an event I have to spend money on, even if I have the money, because I feel bad about spending money regardless of why. That might change when I have a job that pays me a living wage (which I have never had).

In small groups:
What makes these easier is the same as in large groups, but there is one thing that make it harder in small groups that doesn't matter in large ones. If the group is 7 people or fewer and there is anyone who seems ill-at-ease or like they're feeling excluded, I feel responsible for connecting with them and helping them to be connected, and I can't relax unless/until they seem to feel better. I'd love to NOT do this but so far I haven't been able to resist the impulse to try to help. The smaller the group, the more intensely I feel the need to do this. Which is one of the reasons why I want to cancel crafty parties if fewer than four people are attending and none of those people are outgoing ambassador types -- I am relaxed in larger groups in a way I cannot relax in small groups.

back to top

(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣artistic╠══
thank you! it was a kind of ritual for me, doing that makeup.

Yes! I wish more people would hold up their end, so to speak.
jenniferkaos ══╣╠══
Hello, I came across your journal through a mutual friend and wondered if you would like to be friends? We have several things in common!
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I'm taking a break on adding people since I recently added so many, but you're welcome to stick around if you like! most of my stuff is public.
Original ★ impending dusk
ragnarok_08 ══╣Original ★ impending dusk╠══
Small groups are easier for me as well, and I can't resist the impulse to try to make people feel better too.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
it's a hard impulse to resist!
webgirluk ══╣╠══
I related to this entry a lot and I'm with you over your description of how a conversation works best. What I find is often in person or by letter/email, people often kind of speak back but don't always interact with my words. If someone tells me something that mattered to them, like went on a date and found they had common ground, my way of replying might be "That's brilliant you got to go on a date with X and found you had unexpected commonalities. How did you come to know them to begin with? What commonalities did you find or most surprised you? I haven't been on a date now since .... etc etc. I like the exchange of giving feedback but as well asking interesting questions/making observations to lead the chat on and make the person feel seen and heard. I do this best over things that interest me, also although I'll always try with things I'm not AS interested in as I know it can matter to someone else. Oddly enough, I don't ask many question on lj at random and I'm having to think about why this is. I think it's partly as I see the exchange as being between a post and an interactive reply, generally, otherwise dialogue would continue forever in one thread only, rather than progressing to another post made.

Meeting on a one to one is definitely easier when you have that link between you or multiple conversation links that bring you together. It's a starting block to kick start a friendship, even if over the years, it is not what keeps it flourishing.

I love how you try and make people fit in and feel at ease in groups and it's something I admire in out going people. I'm an introvert with an out going side with people I know very well. I'm better on a one to one and grateful to people like you in a group situation.

I too struggle with "meet access" in the logistics of getting to a place and something I find hard to deal with and acknowledge when I meet new people. Meeting new friends would definitely be easier if every potential lived on the same road or were very happy with being the person to lead it and pick me up.

I prefer meets that cost less money as well, partly as like you, I don't earn a living wage but as well, I tend to value more the simple pleasures of life and being with friends creating our own moments using imagination over paying to go out and for effectively someone else's imagination.
belenen ══╣connate╠══
people often kind of speak back but don't always interact with my words

OMG I know exactly what you mean and I find it so frustrating! when I read an email and reply, I go line by line and ask myself, "do I have any thoughts or questions about this line?" I value thoroughness which is part of the reason I put off replying -- I can't just fire off a quick response. I often copy the whole thing into my compose window and then delete each sentence as I have replied to it (or determined that I have no response).

And I feel you on using one's own imagination rather than paying to borrow someone else's. If I set aside time for someone, I do not want to spend it focused on something else. The only time this is not true is when I have easy chances to spend time with someone and we both need down time. But with most people, spending time is no easy chance!
Raven girl
meri_sielu ══╣Raven girl╠══
I really struggle in large groups now whereas I never used to but I agree so much with what you have written here. It really helps to have an ambassador friend to help introduce you to the newer people you haven't met before, in the past that would have been Kim for me I think but obviously as you've been reading things are very different now. I also feel very much the same as you in small group situations where there is someone that feels left out and unincluded, I always try my best to make them feel better but it always takes a lot out of me too so it can be hard to balance.
belenen ══╣artless╠══
*nods* I feel you, and I hope you can find a new ambassador friend who is much more supportive and kind!
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.